Thursday, November 11, 2010

In which I give a speech and am side hugged by a North Korean.

A few weeks ago, my 口语 (speaking) teacher asked if I was willing to be a part of a speaking competition.  It was to be part of the first semester and second semester classes and she would help us prepare.  She said that there were few Americans in the program and they'd like to hear an American perspective on China.  Please note that she didn't say it was because of my stellar Chinese skills.  She did say that my pronunciation was not bad.  That is high praise from a Chinese teacher.  
So last week , I turned in my speech.  She got it back to me, with corrections Chinese style.  It was just so interesting to me because in the USA, I worked in a program where students gave speeches every semester. The teacher's helped them prepare by writing outlines, practicing speaking and so on.  We wanted a very natural style of presentation and docked major points for memorized or recited speeches.
It's completely different here.  I wrote a compare and contrast speech, comparing my life in China with my life in the US.  I talked about some things that Chinese people had told me before coming to China.  For example, a Chinese man was amazed that cars stopped for pedestrians in the US.  My teacher changed that to "In America,cars stop for pedestrians.  In China, pedestrians stop for cars."  Really a different idea than what I had in mind but very good parallel construction.  There was also an introduction at the beginning and a thanking of teachers and the university at the end.  It was a great culture lesson.
As the date for the competition got closer, I began to realize that it was a big deal.  It was in a big hall.  There were over 15 students competing.  There was a money prize.  It wasn't a casual deal at all.  I started to practice more!  I also started to get very nervous.
Last night, my friend joked that there would probably be a banner on campus about the competition.  When I walked into the speaking hall today, I saw this.

It says East North University Foreign Student Chinese Speech Competition.

This was the real deal!  A serious auditorium, judges in the front, water bottles and a banner.  Oh my!

So here I am with all the skinny ladies.  Russian students and my speaking teacher.

The students and judges gather.

The moderators were some high level students.  I didn't quite catch the connection.

My sweet Russian classmate.  Yes, she was as nervous as she looks in the picture.

Our very sweet speaking teacher, Lu Laoshi.

A North Korean girl- she sang at the end of her speech.

North Korean guy- his speech was so long and he was so stiff.  That is a pin of the dear leader on his lapel.  After the competition, he side hugged me.  I about fell over.  The North Korean's tend to be a little separate.

Very dramatic speech..except that he forgot most of it.  But the hand motions were good.

Afterwards, we were put into catagories of 1,2, and 3.  One is the best.  I got a 2.  These are the four 1's.  They all had good, perfectly memorized speeches.

All the competitors.  I am in the back with my buddy, the North Korean student.

All in all, it was a good competition.  I felt good about my speech, I was pleased to get a 2 and now I am glad it is over!


Ellie said...

Interesting to get an adult perspective on what we put kids through so often - speech meets.

Proud of you! I get nervous enough speaking in English!

prechrswife said...

Congratulations on being selected and on your score! (The title of this post made me chuckle. :-) )

Jan said...

wow! You've come a long way baby! Congratulations on this HUGE accomplishment.